Bird flu fears force poultry to be kept indoors
Poultry owners have been instructed to keep their birds indoors, where they cannot come in contact with wild birds, in light of the spread of bird flu.
Yesterday, the UK confirmed a case of bird flu in a dead wild duck that was found in Wales.
Now, the Department of Agriculture has issued a housing notice to poultry owners in Ireland, requiring them to keep birds indoors.
The Department announced that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has made regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 requiring flock keepers to confine all poultry and captive birds in their possession or under their control in a secure building to which wild birds, or other animals do not have access and to apply particular bio-security measures.
These measures are being taken against a background where an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 was confirmed in a turkey flock near the coast in Lincolnshire, England, last week and also in a dead wild duck in Carmarthenshire, Wales this week.
The H5N8 subtype of avian influenza has been responsible for a number of outbreaks of disease in both wild birds and poultry in several European countries since the end of October.
The Department has also reminded those involved in arranging bird gatherings that these take place under a general licence the terms of which place responsibilities on organisers of such events, emphasising in particular the need to provide advance notification to the Department and the application of bio-security measures.
Meanwhile, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland, Robert J Huey, has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone and suspension of poultry gatherings in Northern Ireland in light of the heightened risk of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in the UK.
The prevention Zone for Northern Ireland is effective from 12.00pm on 23 December 2016 for 30 days. In addition to this there is also a temporary suspension of gatherings of some species of birds. Keepers of poultry and other captive birds are now required to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.
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